Local agencies step up to help families through a tough year

Families Matter featured on the United Way blog May 2020

Families Matter – helping families through hardship

 
Families Matter is focused on empowering families to ensure caregivers and children build resilience and thrive. Supporting the mental health of parents has been a major focus for the organization over the past year. Due to provincial restrictions limiting in-person contact, many parents have struggled, unable to rely on extended family for support. Added stressors such as job losses and increased emotions have resulted in higher risk for domestic violence, adding pressure to an already difficult situation.

Danielle Ladouceur, executive director at Families Matter, explains how great the need has been: “There has never been a more stressful time for families, because of the isolation, because of the worries for the future, because of worries about their child’s well-being, because there are more people under one roof at the same time. What we’ve seen during COVID-19 is that families are experiencing more severe challenges because of the isolation; it’s harder for them to reach out for help and to get support.”

One of the most successful programs Families Matter offers is their peer-to-peer support program for families experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety. In this program, parents who have experienced mental health challenges after the birth of a child and made it through to the other side are partnered with those who are still struggling, offering hope that it is possible to overcome these difficulties and heal.

“It is really encouraging for parents to hear that other parents are going through the same thing and that you’re not weird, you’re not different, it’s not shameful,” said Ladouceur. “It’s something that people go through and you can help each other.”

Families Matter also offers a program for young parents ages 16-22. Ladouceur explained that many of the participants in this program are single parents living in poverty and struggling to support themselves and their child. To alleviate some of that stress, Families Matter helps participants meet their basic needs, ensuring they have food, shelter, and baby supplies so that they can focus on their mental well-being. To learn more about this organization and the supports they offer, visit www.familiesmatter.ca.